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Victoria Derbyshire ‘thought she would die’ after breast cancer diagnosis

Victoria Derbyshire admits having her own BBC show axed last year was ‘gutting’ but says surviving the breast cancer she thought might kill her helped ‘put it in perspective’

  • Victoria Derbyshire, 52, admitted losing her eponymous BBC show was ‘gutting’ 
  • But said beating breast cancer helped her put the loss ‘in perspective’  
  • The mother-of-two admitted she thought the disease would kill her 
  • Gives an interview in the latest edition of Woman & Home magazine 

Victoria Derbyshire says being axed from television show was ‘gutting’ but that her battle with breast cancer allowed her to ‘put it in perspective’.  

In January last year, it was announced that the broadcaster’s eponymous show was being cancelled by the BBC because the cost of doing it on a ‘linear channel’ were too high. 

The mother-of-two says that while it was disappointing to lose her show, facing her cancer diagnosis in 2015 – after which she ‘thought she would die’ – allowed her to cope with the loss of her show.

In an interview with Woman & Home magazine, the 52-year-old, who lives in Surrey with her husband Mark and two sons, recalled the moment she knew she had cancer, admitting that she struggled to tell her family. 

Victoria Derbyshire says being axed from television show was ‘gutting’ but that her battle with breast cancer allowed her to ‘put it in perspective’ 

The mother-of-two says she initially feared her breast cancer would kill her

The mother-of-two says she initially feared her breast cancer would kill her 

‘It was gutting when I was told I was losing my TV show but having gone through breast cancer I was able to put it in perspective,’ she said.

‘I was lucky I still had a job in a pandemic and I have come through something where I could have died.’   

Victoria was 46 when she noticed an abnormality in one of her nipples while she was getting ready for bed one evening. The mum says she cried when her GP referred her for an emergency appointment. 

When she heard the news Victoria says she didn’t want to tell Mark or her sons, who were 11 and eight at the time, straight away, saying she went into ‘practical mode’ instantly.  

‘I thought very early on I was going to die. Mark and I went to a little park and really cried and hugged. Saying I might die is such a weird thing to say aloud. We had no idea then if it was treatable. Once the tears were over, we went into practical mode, telling work, friends and family.’ 

Victoria announced she had breast cancer in 2015, undergoing a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery soon after.

Victoria announced she had breast cancer in 2015, undergoing a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery soon after.

The mother announced she had breast cancer in 2015, undergoing a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery soon after. 

Following six sessions of  chemotherapy and 30 sessions of radiotherapy, she was given the all clear with an 11 per cent chance of the cancer recurring. 

One of the toughest things about Victoria’s battle with cancer was losing her hair to chemotherapy, something she says was more challenging than losing her breast.

The broadcaster had a wig made because she ‘didn’t want people to feel sorry for her’.

Her treatment lasted 301 days and on the same day she left the hospital, Victoria travelled to Glasgow to present a debate for BBC One.

That weekend she celebrated by holding a party with her loved ones – complete with a cake hailing her ‘Victorious Victoria’ made by her husband.

The 52-year-old, who lives in Surrey with her husband Mark and two sons, recalled the moment she knew she had cancer, admitting that she struggled to tell her family

The 52-year-old, who lives in Surrey with her husband Mark and two sons, recalled the moment she knew she had cancer, admitting that she struggled to tell her family

She said her both her husband and her mother were a great support throughout her battle with the illness, adding that it is a ‘massive tribute’ to her mum that she and her siblings are ‘such confident adults despite the fact our father was so vile’. 

The journalist has been open about her father was violent growing up, revealing in BBC’s Panorama last year that she understands the terror of those ‘trapped’ and ‘forced’ to live with their abusers during lockdown. 

It was her illness that spurred her decision to marry Mark after 17 years together.

He had proposed before she was pregnant with her first child – however the two never actually tied the knot.

Victoria is a keen advocate of breast cancer awareness and recently started a podcast called And The Came Breast Cancer in collaboration with Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity, something she did in a bid to remove the ‘stigma’ around the condition.

While Victoria believes that her cancer has given her more perspective, she admitted that it took a long time before it wasn’t ‘the first thing I thought about when I woke up’. 

She says that while her passion lies with interviewing people, she would be open to potentially hosting a quiz show or giving advice as an agony aunt. 

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